Medieval route of Rashi in Champagne – Dampierre

Dampierre – Fresco “Isaac of Dampierre”

Dampierre is a small village located in the north of Aube (40km from Troyes, 8km from Ramerupt or Lhuître).

Its castle and the big tower of the lordship of Dampierre seems to go back in the 8th century. The old tower which had supported the assault of the Duke of Burgundy in 1420, was demolished in 1810; there remains only the castle which still preserved its military door. The current castle was built by François Mansart in 1671. All that remains today of the old fort is the beautiful pavilion flanked by turrets and some remains of the moat. The castle is now often opened to the public for various events and guided tours.

This medieval castle is contemporary with the Jewish community that lived in Dampierre and whose reputation was honored by the presence of the exegete Isaac de Dampierre, great-grandson of Rachi and leader of the Tossafist school in the 12th century. Rabbi Isaac was teaching to famous scholars and is the author of numerous Talmudic commentaries and responsa. He is also known as Ri or Rabbi Isaac the Elder.

To remind his story and the one of the local prestigious Jewish community of Dampierre, a fresco was created in early June 2022 in Dampierre on the wall of the Town Hall.

The artist, Jean-Philippe Ledit has proposed a very colorful work in the center of which Rabbi Isaac is represented studying the sacred texts surrounded by his prestigious ancestors and his disciples, in the agricultural environment of the plain of Champagne and medieval images of the village of Dampierre. Filled with symbols, this fresco makes this intangible heritage more alive to the public, who have been associated with its revaluation. Indeed, beyond the tourist and artistic aspect, this achievement includes a strong social component based on the notion of transmission: the locals were included in the artistic creation of the fresco through various workshops and meetings. An original participation to make the general public and school children aware of this history that belongs to them.

Frescoes in Dampierre and Lhuître are also accessible to the visit for free. More frescoes will soon highlight the history of these towns that hosted Jewish communities during the time of the Counts of Champagne in Aube territory.

The red thread connecting each fresco relates to the symbolism of the book and the writing with the proposal of a commentary by Rashi or his disciples in Hebrew and French. Here the commentary chosen was proposed by Professor and Rabbi Marc-Alain Ouaknin and focuses on the biblical verse of Deuteronomy 28.22.

Each fresco is made on exterior walls accessible from the municipal road. The model of each fresco was entrusted to an artist selected during a Call for Artistic Project in 2021 under the supervision of the Rashi Route Scientific Committee. The frescoes are created by volunteers from the Association des Passeurs de Fresques.

Later on, twenty villages in Aube county will host a set of unique frescoes which will offer visitors and locals a real slowtourism artistic tour. For any turistic information please contact

©Text by CulturistiQ

Picture on top : ©CCAMR, Isaac of Dampierre Fresco

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